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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 29, 2009 10:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Grateful death songs

Hey, so here's the rest of what Fenario was getting at, by the other guy (Meador or some such name?) at Dodd's site (assume you've seen it from above, but for completeness sake):

"This song was originally titled The Suicide Song, and I at first looked at it as a dialog between a suicide and God or Jesus, where the suicide argues in favor of being allowed into heaven even though he/she committed what for Catholics is an unforgivable sin. But then an even more bizarre interpretation dawned on me, and well, you should always go with the bizarre.

I think one way to look at this song is to see it as a commentary on the threat of nuclear war. It imagines the aftermath of The Bomb in much the same way Morning Dew did. In this light, I see the song as a dialog between a Human (representing humankind) and a Creator in the wake of a nuclear holocaust where humans destroy themselves completely. The bombs are dispatched-- "a pistol shot at five o'clock"-- and the resulting holocaust shakes even "the bells of heaven", causing them to ring. The Creator, perhaps in despair of His destroyed work, asks the Human "Tell me what you done it for". The Human refuses to "tell you a thing".

But then the Human points out that he/she had begged the Creator yesterday "before I hit the ground", a plea for mercy that the Creator was unable to give. The Human also consoles the Creator with "all I leave behind me is only what I found", meaning that while mankind and its works are destroyed, the earth will eventually recover and life will go on. The Human then asks "if you can abide it let the hurdy-gurdy play", meaning even though mankind is so flawed as to create the means of its own destruction, let it be born again out of the ashes of its self-destruction. After all, "stranger ones" than we have come and gone in the pageant of the cosmos.

Finally, the Human promises that unlike in the time of Jesus, "I will not condemn you nor yet would I deny", perhaps signaling a promise of a new birth in spirituality among humankind. The Human then asks the Creator to also refrain from condemning or denying its creation just because it is flawed, but assures the Creator that in any case, it "will not die".

In the last part, the Human reassures the Creator that his creation will survive even this self-destruction, that the Creator can "Take up your china doll" (the earth/life), which isn't destroyed but "only fractured, just a little nervous from the fall".

How's that for way over-thinking this song!!!"

I assume all of that is HIM not HUNTER, except that he somehow knows it was called the suicide song...are we sure? I assume it's the case, but, anyhow, interesting analysis above, eh?

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Sep 29, 2009 11:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Grateful death songs

Yeah - being an old English Lit guy myself, I think that guy's little essay on this song is pretty-darn-good, but as Rob keeps reminding us, no-one's interpretation is the be-all and end-all. Mostly I was interested in the new piece of information about the Suicide title. Completely changed my view of the song.

Rob's right that we could do a whole thread just on this one song. It's one of Hunter's ripest lyrics.